Guidelines for Individuals Accompanying Study Abroad Programs

Many units within the University of Illinois sponsor study abroad programs involving both students and faculty or staff traveling and studying abroad. Units may wish to permit or request that, in addition to University employees, other individuals accompany study abroad groups. In all cases the role of such accompanying individuals, their functions within the program, and any compensation they might receive should be clarified in writing before the beginning of a program. This will usually involve written statements agreed upon between sponsoring office(s) within the university, the individual(s), and program leadership.

Leaders should be careful in seeing to it that accompanying individuals complement the goals of the program, understand their roles and limitations, and fit easily into designated activities. The roles and varieties of accompanying adults should be made clear to students and other participants before the beginning of a program.

The university reserves the right to impose limits or conditions bearing on the roles, activities, and presence of accompanying individuals. This includes TAs, chaperones, and local assistants as well as spouses, partners, or children, among others.

Detailed guidelines for programs sponsored by Illinois Abroad and Global Exchange (IAGE) are available. For additional information and suggestions that can be incorporated into similar documents produced by other units, please see below.


The following guidelines describe the limits or conditions that apply to all individuals accompanying study abroad groups sponsored by IAGE. Modifications to these guidelines can be negotiated for groups co-sponsored with other
university units.

  1. Program Leadership: For all programs with accompanying leaders, one person will be the designated leader for issues of student safety and well-being. This person will report to the Director of IAGE. In many cases an individual will also be designated as responsible for academic issues or oversight of the program. While working with IAGE, ultimate academic oversight for the program will normally rest with the sponsoring unit within the University. These roles, (a) safety and well-being leadership, and (b) academic leadership, may be held by one individual or they may be held by different individuals. In all cases leadership roles will be agreed upon in writing before the beginning of a program.
  2. Accompanying Individuals: Additional adults may accompany the group. In such a case the role of the person(s) must be agreed upon in advance, in writing, between the individual, the leadership of the program (above) and the Director of IAGE as well as the Dean/Director of additional sponsoring units. Students will also be notified of the role of accompanying adults.
  3. Roles for Accompanying Individuals: All accompanying individuals, directly or indirectly, become representatives of the University of Illinois and its educational mission. It is important they recognize this and that it is reflected in their behavior. It is anticipated that accompanying individuals will fall into one of the following categories:
    1. Those with no formal or informal role in the study abroad program. In such cases the individual will typically be responsible for all expenses incurred. Free ‘services’ can be provided, at the discretion of program leadership, when no additional charge is made to the program (e.g. when a bus has been rented and open seats are available).
    2. Those who have agreed to provide emergency assistance to the program as needed. In such cases the individual will need to become acquainted with emergency procedures and to carry and understand appropriate emergency protocol information with him or her. Such individuals will be asked to attend safety and well-being orientations or to familiarize themselves with materials presented and related protocols before the beginning of the program.
    3. Those who have agreed to provide limited but regular duties (e.g. counting students at activities, limited counseling, chaperone, etc.). Duties will be agreed upon in writing in advance. In most cases these individual(s) will also provide emergency assistance to the program as needed. Such individuals will be asked to attend safety and well-being orientations or to familiarize themselves with materials presented and related protocols before the beginning of the program.
  4. Remuneration and Budget Preparation: Depending on the role played by accompanying individuals, appropriate remuneration should be provided. This can include in-kind support (e.g. free meals at group events, free room and board, travel expenses) or monetary payments. In all cases such support must be included in program budgets and negotiated with IAGE as part of the program proposal process. Monetary payments must be processed by university procedures. If the individual is a university employee, duties on the study abroad program might fall under the individual’s regularly contracted duties. Additional benefits to employees (e.g. free transportation, room and board, etc.) should be specified. If payments for services are made to university employees, university benefits might also need to be paid.
  5. Accommodations: At the request of a university employee(s) leading study abroad programs, and with the approval of sponsoring units (IAGE and others), accompanying individual(s) (e.g. Family members) may share the employee’s accommodations. The Illinois employee will receive housing allowance for one person, regardless of how many accompanying individuals share the accommodation. Exceptions are possible as explained above (#4). As a rule, Illinois employees and accompanying individuals and program assistants should not share accommodations with students.
  6. Staff to Student Ratios: As part of the normal program proposal process program leadership will recommend an appropriate staff to student ratio. This can vary depending on the goals and nature of the program but will ensure adequate supervision of student activities and emergency protocols.
  7. Insurance: All individuals accompanying study abroad groups must be enrolled in the university’s international health, medical evacuation, and repatriation insurance for the duration of the program. If the university’s plan will not cover accompanying individuals (such as in the possible case of minor children), they must carry comparable insurance.
  8. Waivers: All accompanying adults who are not regular university employees will sign a waiver similar to those signed by students.
  9. Accompanying Children: The leaders of study abroad programs must be always available to respond to student needs or emergencies. For this reason, it is not recommended they, or others, take accompanying children. With approval of program sponsors (IAGE and others), and program leadership, children may accompany programs. They must be accompanied by an adult who will be fully responsible for the child(ren) and who will pay for all expenses incurred on their behalf. Children 16 or under will normally be accompanied by an adult having no formal or informal role in the program (i.e. a full-time caretaker).